Happening (2022) 1h 40m / R / Drama
Happening, winner of the Golden Lion at last fall’s Venice International Film Festival, follows French university student Anne (Anamaria Vartolomei) over a period of several weeks as she discovers she is unexpectedly with child and seeks to terminate her pregnancy. Since the story is set in 1963, when abortion was still illegal in France (it would remain illegal until 1975), her ordeal unfolds under a miserable cloud of shame and secrecy and dire loneliness. As her final exams approach, Anne wants desperately to have a say in the way her future will proceed, and so she must the most difficult choices of her life.
Happening is adapted from Annie Ernaux’s sharply observed 2000 memoir by Marcia Romano and director Audey Diwan, who said she was interested in making a film touching on her own abortion experience as a follow-up to her directorial debut Losing It. When she came across Ernaux’s book, the French filmmaker found that the author’s story of trying to procure a termination procedure nearly 60 years ago touched on the same intersection between the sociopolitical and the extremely personal that she’d been curious to explore. It’s a period piece, but this urgent, potent French abortion drama weaves together threads that have been relevant forever and remain relevant today.
French w. English subtitles